All you need to know: AS Monaco
They brought through Kylian Mbappé and Bernardo Silva, had Arsène Wenger and Didier Deschamps as coach, and are one of French football’s most successful clubs, but aren’t even French. Ligue 1.com tells you all you need to know about AS Monaco.
Association sportive de Monaco football club — AS Monaco FC for short — was founded in 1924 after the fusion of four local sides. The principality outfit play in the French league making them one of a handful of clubs, like Welsh clubs Cardiff City and Swansea City playing the English league, who do not play in the league of their country.
First promoted to the top flight in 1953/54, they claimed their first major trophy — the Coupe de France — in 1959/60 with future France national team coach Michel Hidalgo as their captain. The first of eight top-flight titles came the following season. The only league-cup double in the club’s history followed two years later before they fell into the doldrums. They reemerged in the late 70s, and won three titles in a decade before Arsene Wenger arrived at the club in 1987.
The future Arsenal boss forged his reputation in the principality, making them a major force to be reckoned with on the domestic and international stage with players such as George Weah, Emmanuel Petit, Jürgen Klinsmann, and Sonny Anderson. During his tenure, Thierry Henry emerged as a first-team prospect after coming through the club’s youth academy.
Surprisingly, Wenger’s only significant silverware was the 1987/88 title in his first season in charge and the Coupe de France three years later, but he also laid the groundwork for Jean Tigana to guide the team to the title in 1996/97 before Claude Puel, who had been a player under Wenger and Tigana, did the same as coach in 1999/00.
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A UEFA Champions League final appearance in 2003/04 under Didier Deschamps was the highlight before Russian billionaire Dimitri Rybolovlev took control of the club — then flailing in Domino’s Ligue 2 — in December 2011. He bankrolled the club’s promotion from Ligue 2 under Claudio Ranieri before Leonardo Jardim succeeded the Italian in 2014.
With a team featuring Radamel Falcao, Silva, Benjamin Mendy and Mbappé, Jardim steered a swashbuckling side to Monaco’s first league title in 17 years — ending Paris Saint-Germain’s four-year strangehold on the trophy — as well as the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League and the Coupe de France while losing the Coupe de la Ligue final to PSG.
Monaco wore a red-and-white shirt initially before adopting their famous diagonal red-and-white shirt of today for the 1960/61 season. The shirt was designed by Princess Grace Kelly, and brought the club luck as they won the first of their eight Ligue 1 Conforama titles in the first season they used it.
Club icon: Delio Onnis
Henry, David Trezeguet, Petit, Lilian Thruam and Mbappé all first shone at the Stade Louis II, but you have probably not even heard of the man Monaco fans hold in the greatest esteem. Onnis was born to Italian parents in Argentina but after joining Monaco from Stade de Reims in 1973, he became adopted by the principality. Over seven years, he scored 223 goals in some 280 competitive outings for the club, and the majority of his Ligue 1 record 299 top-flight strikes came in the club’s colours.
As if that wasn’t enough, Onnis, who finished Ligue 1’s leading scorer five times in his career, sealed his place in Monaco folklore by staying at the club when they were relegated in 1976, firing them back into the top flight at the first time of asking with 30 goals in the second tier.
Stadium: Stade Louis II
The club has played at a stadium of the same name from 1939, but their current home was not opened until January 1985. It was named after Louis II, who ruled Monaco from 1922 until 1949. The work to reclaim the land to be used for the stadium started in 1981.
It is unusual among Ligue 1 Conforama stadiums as it has a running track around it. The stadium complex also includes a public swimming pool and an indoor arena, which is used by the principality’s professional basketball club. The stadium hosted the UEFA Super Cup every year from 1998 to 2012.
Famous former players
Fabien Barthez (1995-2000), Youri Djorkaeff (1990-95), Jean-Luc Ettori (1975-94), Radamel Falcao (2013-19), Ludovic Giuly (1998-04, 11-12), Thierry Henry (1994-99), Glenn Hoddle (1987-91), Jürgen Klinsmann (1992-94), Kylian Mbappé (2013-18), Emmanuel Petit (1989-97), Claude Puel (1979-96), Willy Sagnol (1997-2000), Bernardo Silva (2014-17), Lilian Thuram (1991-96), David Trezeguet (1995-2000), George Weah (1988-92)
Did you know?
If you leave the Stade Louis II from the entrance next to the iconic arches and cross the road, you will find yourself in France. The only way you can tell you have left the principality is that the pavement changes from brick red tiles in Monaco to grey paving stones in France.